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Fact Check: Are teacher strikes illegal in Texas

Posted: 6:39 PM, May 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-30 13:15:55-04

Across the nation, teachers in several states have gone on strike to demand higher pay and better funding for public schools; but not in Texas.

As those strikes spark debate around the nation, the question remains, why not here? Is Texas’ education system in good shape; are Texas teachers happy with the way things are? Some suggest there may be another reason: legality.

That’s the subject of today’s Fact Check: Is it illegal for teachers in Texas to go on strike?

The Verdict: Fact. Texas teachers face serious consequences for actions including strikes.

"The teachers are not allowed to make a group decision or to go out en mass on strikes, so that is the law," said President of the American Federation of Teachers, Nancy Vera.

Others have first-hand knowledge.

Arlene Easter was a C.C.I.S.D. teacher for 18 years. She knows what the consequences are if a teacher here goes on strike.

"A teacher in Texas does that, they lose their certification. Their state certification," Easter described.

Losing state certification is a big deal, and could cost teachers their job but there’s more on the line. Pensions, benefits, re-employment rights and other privileges are also lost under state law, should a Texas teacher go on strike.

That law spells out that if teachers "strike in an organized work stoppage against state or political subdivision of the state," they will lose all their "civil service rights, benefits, re-employment rights, benefits, and privilege the employee enjoys as a result of the public employment."

Easter is retired from teaching and works for the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers. It’s one way she can voice her concerns, without the fear of getting fired.

"As a group, you feel silenced because you cannot organize people to speak up."